The last year has been a big adjustment for many families. Children have had to adapt to a new learning environment – a gift for introverts and a challenge for students who thrive off group work or competition with their peers. Many pupils and teachers are now having to catch up for lost time, and we are edging closer to the summer holidays when children will have even more time off. However, there are ways children can use the summer to make progress and get ready for September.
Keep a holiday diary
It’s the summer and children, understandably, may not want to spend the summer break studying. It’s important that any learning tasks are therefore enjoyable and productive. For writing, children could be asked to keep holiday diaries or travel journals. Setting short creative writing tasks, either on paper or using an online platform like the Night Zookeeper, can be an effective way to improve your child’s vocabulary, as well as their spelling, punctuation and grammar. Older children could be encouraged to write a blog or podcast script about a topic that interests them.
Read for fun
Slowing down during school closures means that children have had time to do other things. Encouraging them to read more can spark their imagination, improve their vocabulary, and develop their creative writing skills. Audio books and podcasts are a great alternative at bedtime or when you’re on the move.
Debate at the dinner table
Hajer Sharief’s Ted Talk ‘How to use family dinner to teach politics’ explains how parents can teach life skills like debating, the art of persuasion, diplomacy and problem solving around the dinner table. Discussing current affairs, politics and economics at the table will give your child insight into what’s happening in the world and help them to learn how to express themselves. Challenge them to watch a daily TedEd talk and discuss what they have learned.
Practice Maths skills – little and often
Research by the National Summer Learning Association shows that, after the summer break, two thirds of teachers spend four weeks re-teaching material from the previous school year. To help your child combat this summer learning loss, you can practice 15-30 minutes of Maths with them each day. For primary students this could include times tables, square numbers, fractions, measurements and number sequences.
At secondary level, there may be knowledge gaps which need to be filled or issues around exam technique. Use the exam specification as a checklist to identify weaker areas. Students can often work on these areas independently using online resources such as Seneca learning, Memrise, and BBC Bitesize. There may also be areas where a professional tutor or teacher at school can provide extra support and guidance.
Bring learning to life
Why not try bringing the national curriculum to life with at home Science experiments or gamified online museum visits? Summer is an opportunity for children to explore new interests and talents, which may grow to become lifelong passions.
Schools won’t be expecting perfection for September. Schools will be working hard in the Autumn Term to reclaim lost learning time and children will be given the opportunity to catch up. Any summer work however will not be wasted and will put your child in the best position for the new academic year.
At SILKS, we have connections with an inspiring team of qualified primary and secondary teachers. The team are available in the Summer to deliver flexible and personalised private tutoring. For more information, please contact us.